South Whidbey Record


LETTERS TO THE EDITOR | Free speech OK, obstruction isn’t

November 17, 2012 · Updated 3:39 PM

To the editor:

This morning, Nov. 13, at about 9:45 a.m., I arrived at the Freeland Post Office and noticed that there were several sandwich boards and a table and umbrella adorned with political slogans. These items were placed in such a manner as to obstruct free passage of pedestrians along the sidewalk starting at the limit of the post office parking lot and down past the first sign post going toward Payless.

I reported the obstructed sidewalk situation in person to the clerk at the Freeland Sheriff’s station. I presented photos that clearly demonstrate that you can’t get by the set up without stepping into the roadway.

This same group with the same equipment was here some weeks ago and I also reported the obstructing of the sidewalk at that time. A deputy drove by and reported that he saw no violation.

I spoke personally with the deputy and he told me that as he interpreted the law, if you could step around it, the pathway was not obstructed. I don’t think he is correct. I can’t understand the hesitation on the part of the sheriff to enforce the common sense rule of not allowing the pathway to be obstructed.

I have not heard if a deputy has looked at the current situation.

My complaint is about the obstruction, not their message. I have participated in signature gathering events and other demonstrations and have always been told that a table could not be set up on the sidewalk and that free passage of pedestrians could not be infringed upon.

Robert Gray



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